Testimony from Mediterranean migrant Makone Mare

Makone Mare is one of the 369 people rescued from a small fishing boat on the Mediterranean sea last Sunday by the MY Pheonix, a search and rescue boat operated by MSF and MOAS.

“I came from Eritrea through Ethiopia, Sudan and then Lybia. I’m Eritrean, I like my country but I had to leave. I wanted a new life.

Libya is not good. Your life is not safe. There is no protection, no refugee camps, no red cross. The Libyans take you when you cross the border and take everything from your pockets. For no reason they put you in criminal prisons for months. Life is very hard in Libya, I had no idea it was like this there. As many of the people here I went to Libya because I wanted to go to Europe but, if I had known before how things are there, I wouldn’t have come to Libya. I got arrested without having committed any crime and over time I was moved around different prisons. Since they took everything from me my family paid the $2,000 for my place on the boat, to give me a chance.

There is no comfort on the boat but you have no choice, no alternatives. I want a new future. The boat we were put in was so crowded. I’m a human, I was afraid because I have only one life. This sea travel is so hard. There are children that travel alone and pregnant women. We try to help them.

I’m lucky to have been saved. I am born a second time. I am born a second time.”